Dick Francis’s Damage

/ posted in: Reading

I don’t read a lot of mysteries, especially series of mysteries. This author is one I read routinely though. I appreciate that there isn’t a repeating character that always finds a dead body and takes it on himself to investigate. If that happens over and over to a person, I start thinking they must be a serial killer. This author writes characters that have a legitimate cause for investigating the crime at hand. They aren’t just nosy busy bodies.

In Damage, Jeff Hinckley is an investigator for the British Horseracing Authority. A murder is committed by a suspect he’s trailing through a crowd at an event. The murderer was banned from racing because his horses were drugged but he claimed he didn’t do it. Now other trainers are receiving threats to pay money or their horses will be drugged. Maybe the investigation into the first trainer was flawed?

When every horse at an event tests positive for the same drug, the BHA receives a threat. Pay 5 million pounds or it will happen again. Hinckley is assigned to find out what is going on. The sabotage starts escalating from drugged horses to sick people to accidents on course.

The interesting part of the book for me was figuring out how these things were happening. All do you drug all the horses at an event, for example? The main character is good at disguises and going undercover.

There are some side stories in here that distract a bit from the main plot. The resolution of the plot seems abrupt and slightly anticlimactic. I felt sort of, “Well, that’s that then” at the end but it was interesting and kept me reading up to that point.